PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — On Saturday, June 1, Presque Isle Historical Society’s Maysville Museum, located at 165 Caribou Rd., will open for its third summer by debuting a new exhibit sponsored by Maine Humanities Council.
The museum will officially open that day at 10 a.m. with a brief presentation at 10:15 detailing the exhibit, “Quilts: The Fabric of Life,” which features twelve antique quilts from the society’s collections as well as a collection of poems written this year by the eighth-grade students from Presque Isle Middle School.
In addition to simply displaying some of the beautiful antique quilts from Presque Isle Historical Society’s collections, the exhibit was enriched by partnering with the students to include poems they wrote as part of their “poetry module.”
According to Kim Smith of the historical society, this concept was inspired by the Poetry Card Project started by Maine State Poet Laureate Stuart Kestenbaum in conjunction with the Maine Office on Tourism in 2018. Poems written by Maine authors conveying their feelings about Maine were printed and distributed to hotels throughout the state for their visitors.
As they studied poetry, the eighth-graders were tasked with writing four types of poems: sonnets, limericks, haikus and free verse. Smith, exhibit curator, visited each of the classes with some of the quilts as well as photographs of each quilt in the collection. The students then had the option of using one of the quilts as an inspiration for one or more of their poems.
“Poems written by the students that are about or inspired by the quilts are contained in a notebook that will be a part of the exhibit,” Smith said. “Some of the poems were written about the history of quilts. The poems are grouped according to the quilt by which they were inspired. Student poems are supplemented by a few poems written by Society board members.”
As a part of the grant from Maine Humanities Council, the quilts were also catalogued and properly archived (stored and preserved for the future). The catalogue process allowed Presque Isle Historical Society to examine each quilt to determine, if and where possible, if the quilts were hand-stitched or machine-stitched. This information as well as any other information available such as origin and approximate year made was also listed on the catalog sheet.
There is no admission fee to visit the museum. Summer hours will be Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October.
In addition to the new quilt exhibit, the museum houses four cornerstone exhibits: Presque Isle’s One-Room Schoolhouses, Presque Isle & the Civil War, The Aroostook War, and Agri-CULTURE. Several smaller exhibits include Bisque Dolls, What Is It, a working antique telephone switchboard and vintage bridal gowns.
The society seeks volunteers to staff the museum for the summer. Anyone interested should contact Smith by phone at 762-1151 or email at email@example.com.